Monday, February 6, 2017

Sarah Jane Dorsey freed in 1850, given land in 1869

Sarah Jane Powells (or Powell) Dorsey was born in Lisbon MD in 1828 (or 1832) and was freed in the 1850s by Thomas and Sarah Hood.  "Sarah Hood desires to manifest her regard for Sarah Jane Dorsey, colored, late their slave for her unwavering fidelity and general moral worth as a servant” and Hood purchased over an acre of land in 1869 where the Dorsey family would live for over a century at the home on Rt. 97, Cooksville, MD.
 
By 1854 she married Albert (or Alfred) Dorsey and their children were: William H.T. Dorsey 1854, Virginia (Jennie) 1858, Prince Albert 1860, Mary L., Joseph S. 1865, Ella 1867, Rachel 1869 and lastly James W. in 1870.  

According to Dorsey descendant Albert France (who lived in the cabin in 1977) the Hoods freed Sarah Jane around 1850 and built the log cabin from trees on the property for her.  France’s grandmother Ella (Dorsey) Berry “like her mother had a very pleasant face, and was a loveable [sic], well-settled kind of person… all stopped to see her as they did her mother Sarah Jane.”

In the 1910 census Sarah Jane was listed as a 78 year old widow who had 10 children, 6 were still living.  She owned her home with no mortgage and was not able to read or write.  Living with her were James (38) and Sadie (29) Smith ( and Sarah Jane Berry (17) who had a child in April the following year, then married Louis France in May, and son Albert France was born 1917.  In 1924 Sarah died.

Sarah Jane Dorsey's former master Thomas Hobbs Hood (1798-1868) and his wife Sarah Price Hood (1811- ) were large landowners in the Lisbon, Cooksville area of Howard County and had a daughter Sophia (1834-1906). Hood was on the Board of County Commissioners for Howard from 1856-59, 1862-65 and died in 1868, so the following year Sarah  Hood bought the over an acre from J. Eugene Buck to ensure that Dorsey would keep the property.  
May 4, 1869 land  transfer:
“Whereas the said Sarah Hood desires to manifest her regard for Sarah Jane Dorsey, colored, late their slave for her unwavering fidelity and general moral worth as a servant and for that purpose has purchased from the above named J. Eugene Buck and paid him for the following described lot of land which she designs as a gift to the said Sarah Jane Dorsey.  Now therefore… J. Eugene Buck, et al. do grant unto the said Sarah Jane Dorsey and her children in fee simple, all that parcel of land lying in Howard County, aforesaid, on the west side of the Washington Road, called “Poverty Discovered” which is contained within the following metes and bounds…”

HO-102  Maryland Historical Trust Inventory of Historic Properties.  1977

©2017 Patricia Bixler Reber
Noteworthy women and historic homes of Ellicott City and Howard County, Md. HOME

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